Flunked an Exam! Wasted 25K! Lost a Bike! And cracked NLU Delhi!

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This article has been submitted by Aytas Sahu for the CLATGyan Blog Post Writing Competition. If you think this article is a good read, ‘Like’ this article on Facebook (the button is at the bottom of this piece) or post a comment using the ‘comments’ section below.


Never been much of a writer. Never been a topper either. Most of my life, I had been content with securing just that wee bit more than the average marks. Never cared much when I was trumped by others in competitions. Except for putting on weight and maintaining that perfectly-concentrated-around the belly circle of fat, I am pretty sure I wasn’t exceptional at anything. Good at many things ,yes. Never exceptional.

Well, barely coasting through 11th taught me enough to pull up my pants in 12th and at least pass the boards. To my utter surprise, I actually secured a fairly good percentage. Again, good. Not exceptional. Finally, I was free. I attained adulthood in the May of 2012. My girlfriend broke up with me that very month. A short-lived romance of a year and a half. Gone. I was gifted a brand new smartphone by my brother. The same phone I had been lusting for a couple of months. I was free. To while away my time playing through all the new games I had missed on while preparing for the boards. To watch movies and TV series till I fall asleep drooling on the laptop. To read through all those novels I had wanted to read.

I did exactly that.

Then came the “oh-it’s time for choosing your career-ya worthless piece of s***” lecture from my parents. Well, actually, everyone who knew that I existed and also possessed the wildly common and often annoying ability to talk. Yeah. Relatives and stuff. I had dodged the ubiquitous engineering and medical coaching courses during my 10+2 by stating two well laid out arguments.

β€œI want to concentrate on the CBSE boards. No, I will not dilute knowledge with trained robotic problem crunching techniques.” ( haha )
“My entire family is filled with doctors. And hell naw. I don’t want the responsibility of another man’s life on my hands. Also, y’know, having to study through books measuring 5 inches thick.” (yeah, life does have a sense of humour now that I have chosen law. Go on, laugh.)

Now I had no such excuse. I didn’t want to become an engineer. I loathed math. Well, I thought I always wanted to join the Defense forces. I was a sharp enough shooter in the NCC. Had an obsession with guns and aircraft and stuff generally every teen G.I. Joe is obsessed with. It’d be a cakewalk. I bought a book for the respective entrance exam and solved a few papers. That’s all. For 5 months.

I flunked NDA/NA. The application I had sent for technical entry into NA was rejected for the simple reason that I forgot to factor my age into account. Still,unperturbed, I started scouring the net for colleges that take students into their fold without any entrance exam. My percentage was good. But not good enough to get me into the top colleges of DU. My resolve was failing rapidly. I hadn’t spoken with my ex-girlfriend for 6 months now. Didn’t have anyone to turn to and let the frustration out.

Somewhere along the line, I convinced my parents that I had the ability to tackle engineering coaching courses in the middle of the year and enrolled into an institute willing to welcome me into its expensive venomous cavern. Twenty five thousand rupees of my parents’ money. Money that could’ve gone into construction of our house that was currently underway. Money that could’ve funded my dad’s medical bills for a year.

I lost interest from the very first class. 6 students. I couldn’t just get up and leave now. I was looking for avenues of escape. A friend of mine had started taking classes at a reputed coaching center for law. Had a chat with him. It was September.

“Well,why not?” asked the heart.
“Coz it’s another 22K from your parents’ bank accounts” replied the brain.
“Get off me and do something, dammit!” cried the gluteus maximus.

I still have no idea how my parents agreed to let me abandon one course and take up another. 25K down the drain.
I felt guilty. I decided I would see this through no matter what. I discovered that the sections being tested were the subjects I was relatively strong in. The very first mock test I appeared in got me a rank of 1. Yes. ONE. I topped.
It was like a drug. The exhilaration of seeing your name at the very top (even though I was pipped by another a few hours later) is inherently different. I put myself into studies with a fervor I didn’t know I was capable of, to see my name appear in the top again. It was November.

I started losing focus. I had been consistently scoring high marks in the mocks. I turned complacent.

In the midst of all these, I lost a friend. My brother’s motorcycle that I had been riding and maintaining for a couple of years now. He was in the Army and was away a lot of time and so I was virtually its owner for the majority of the year. I had been calling myself a true rider of a motorcycle all this time. I never realized exactly how much I will be missing it until my brother packed it off at the railway station to be transported to his place of posting. That I was never actually following the tenets of motorcycling in practice. It was January now. Three months till the first major law entrance exam would be held.

Motorcycling (no, not as cool sounding as “biking”), is addictive. A perfect amalgamation of the human and the machine is hard to achieve. But it’s exhilarating when you do achieve that. Attacking a corner with precision and knowing that you just timed it sweetly. Shifting up a gear at exactly the right speed for a butter smooth transition. The sensation that the machine under you is like a comrade following you to the depths of hell. Yes,almost like the exhilaration I first felt when I saw my name on the top of the list of test-takers. I missed that. Immensely.
I began searching for a second hand bike with the plea on a strong premise that I needed it for travelling to and fro from the coaching center. My parents (still have no idea why, but bless them), got me a spanking new one.

I was happy. It was March. Less than two months to AILET. I couldn’t fail them now. I couldn’t fail myself now. I couldn’t fail my teachers who were constantly on the edge trying to mould me into someone I never had the audacity to believe that I could be. A topper. I couldn’t bring myself to contemplate failure.

I studied with a sincerity that was almost scary. Now, every time I was in the top of the list of test-takers, I felt that rush of satisfaction of a job well done. But I had to take care that this didn’t go to my head. It was April now.
27 days left.

I was hungry now. For the untapped potential in me. I was scared. Excited. I was appearing an entrance exam in which the success rate would be 0.0045 this year. 54 seats. 12000 candidates. Unlike before though,I wasn’t looking for a way to escape. I was facing the challenge I had been preparing for since the last 8 months. I had changed. For the better.

Was on the train returning to Bhubaneswar from Delhi when I got a call from a friend yelling ” The damn results are out!”. After going bald from ripping out hair in frustration, I finally managed to load up the PDF from NLU-D’s website. (Thanks, well known-brand of internet dongle-with lousy network).

Apprehensive? Yes. Scared? No.
Scrolled down.
Serial Number 28. Rank 9.

P.S. For clarification, “attacking corners” is never done on the city streets. Only idiots do that. Wear safety gear all the time while on two wheels. Physics taught me that. Y’know. Something about the center of gravity and stuff.

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